Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday sought the response of former leader of opposition in the state assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and two other ministers in the Maharashtra government on a plea challenging their appointment.
A division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and G S Patel was hearing a petition challenging the appointment of Vikhe Patil, NCP-turned Shiv Sena leader Jaydutt Kshirsagar, and RPI(A) leader Avinash Mahatekar as ministers.
Vikhe Patil, who was the leader of opposition in the state Assembly till some time ago before he quit the Congress, was inducted into the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet on June 16 and given the plum housing portfolio.
“Let the respondents (ministers) also get a chance to object or respond to the petition,” the court said while posting the matter for further hearing after four weeks.
Government counsel V A Thorat opposed the plea and said the three can hold ministerial charge for six months and will have to get elected to the state legislature within this period.
Petitioners Surinder Arora, Sanjay Kale and Sandeep Kulkarni, in their plea, said the ministers stand disqualified on the ground of defection, according to the Constitution.
Moreover, they have no intention of being elected within the next six months, as per the Representation of the People Act, the petitioners claimed.
The petition urged the court to quash the appointment of all the three, grant an interim injunction restraining them from acting as ministers, and direct the Assembly speaker to decide on the matter within two weeks.
Kshirsagar was allotted the employment guarantee and the Horticulture Department while Mahatekar was appointed as a junior minister during the recent state cabinet expansion.